Friday, September 2, 2011

How I Know I Don't Have The Mind Of Christ

As I look at the western Church's mentality and perspective in life I wonder if we spend any time meditating on the heart of our Father. We certainly do not share his outlook on most things and much of that comes from ignorance and distrust. We know that he loves us, that he had his son die on the cross for us, and that he forgives us when we do wrong things. But notice that these are all orientated on what he has done for us. Jesus told us to go and do what he did which puts the emphasis on others. If we really knew our Father we would know it pleases him when we take on a servant-heart and become givers.

Some people use not knowing what God thinks as an excuse, but it is a poor excuse. Scriptures tell us:

The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
     “For who has known the mind of the Lord
   that he may instruct him?”

   But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:15-16)

Not only do we know the mind of of the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, we have his mind. We can understand God, his perspective, his desire and his will. Out of this comes contentment so that the peace he has given to us will not be disturbed.

One of the things that bothers me about the Western mentality is our thoughts on God as a provider. Our Father is a good provider so we should trust his promises in this area, stop worrying, get our eyes off of ourselves and concentrate on others. But our culture has made us dissatisfied with our Father's provision, so we use credit cards and investments to try to get ahead. I want us to consider the manna for a moment.

Israel was in the desert and would be for a long time to come. They were nomads for 40 years. How do you feed a desert nation for 40 years, especially when they were constantly on the move? God fed them with the bread of heaven, manna, which means "what is it". The instructions were they had to go out every morning and collect exactly what they needed for that day and on the day before the Sabbath they had to collect two days worth. It was discovered that no matter how much they each collected it was always exactly what they needed.

Some would point out that God led them to the land of plenty where things were in great abundance. I say amen to that but it was still a gift from God's hand. The cities were already built, the crops were already planted and all Israel had to do was move in. God's provision. There will be "manna" seasons and "milk and honey" seasons but none of it should ever disturb our peace. Apostle Paul stated:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13)

I have been waiting all summer for my tax refund. I had so many plans for that money, ways I was going to treat my children and bless my friends. But summer came and went. It was only yesterday that I received it and to my shock it was only a fraction of what it was suppose to be. In checking it out I discovered the company that had prepared my tax return had made a mistake. I was disappointed but when I sat down to work out what I could do with this money I discovered that it covered all my bills and the promises I had made. At the end of the day I had nothing left but it was exactly what I needed and I am pleased with that.

We put far too much emphasis on our comfort, always focusing on ourselves. It creates a hoarding mentality in us so that we want more and we want more so that we can hold on to more. The thing is, our Father is a giver, his perspective is that of a giver, it is his attitude and it is seen in his actions. We are suppose to be just like him, giving instead of pursuing a life of taking. We are suppose to be producers not consumers but our society has turned us into consumers because that is how our economy works. The Scriptures have something to say about this:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

How very true this is. Jesus told us that we should not allow ourselves to be consumed by our desires and even our needs. He reminded us that our Father looks after the beasts around us, and he loves us much more than these. He told us not to pursue the same things the world does but instead concentrate on the things of the Kingdom. (Matthew 6:28-34)

Jesus also told a parable about a farmer who had a very good year with his crops. He had far more than he needed but instead of giving away the surplus or even selling it he invested money into building bigger barns to store what he did not need. He was hoarding, going against the Father's heart. When we are given abundance it is not so that we would become spoiled but instead so that we can be givers, like our Father. Jesus said the farmer was foolish because he should have laid up his treasures in heaven instead of on earth. After hoarding away his wealth he was not going to get to spend any of it because his life was coming to an end that night. So what good did his wealth do him? (Luke 12:13-21)

Wealth is not an evil thing but to be consumed by its pursuit is. We have one focus, doing the will of the Father and that is going to look different for each of us. There will be plenty of seasons in our life, from being in need to having plenty. The one consistent is Jesus and the mentality we are to have is that of a giver. Just as Jesus gave himself we are to give our selves. If our desire for wealth is interfering with that purpose then we have a problem. We have to trust our Father is a good provider, set aside all of our financial worries and pursue the things of the Kingdom. When you reflect on this even for a moment you will see why I wonder if we spend any time meditating on the heart of our Father. I think we have a lot more surrendering of "self" to do.

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